Friday, November 03, 2017

Bright on My Harp the Meteors Gleam

The Progress of November:
An Ode
by Anne Hunter

Now yellow Autumn's leafy ruins lie
In faded splendor on the desert plain,
Far from the noise of madding crowds I fly
To wake in solitude the mystic strain:
A theme of import high I dare to sing,
While Fate impels my hand to strike the trembling string.

Bright on my harp the meteors gleam,
As glancing through the night they shine;
Now the winds howl, the ravens scream,
And yelling ghosts the chorus join :
Chimeras dire from fancy's deepest hell
Fly oer yon hallow'd tower, and toll the passing bell.

NOVEMBER hears the dismal sound,
As slow advancing from the pole,
He leads the months their wintry round:
The black'ning clouds attendent roll,
Where frown a giant-band, the sons of care,
Dark Thoughts, Presages fell, and comfortless Despair.

O'er Britain's isle they spread their wings,
And shades of death dismay the land;
November wide his mantle flings,
And lifting high his vengeful hands,
Hurls down the demon Spleen; with pow'rs combin’d
To check the springs of life and crush th' enfeebled mind.

Thus drear dominion he maintains,
Beneath a cold inclement sky,
While noxious fogs and drizzling rains
On nature's sick'ning bosom lie:
The op'ning rose of Youth untimely fades,
And Hope's fair friendly light beams dimly through the shades.

Now prowls abroad the ghastly fiend
FELL SUICIDE–whom Phrensy bore;
His brows with writhing serpents twin'd,
His mantle steept in human gore.
The livid flames around his eye-balls play,
Stern Horror stalks before, and Death pursues his way.

Hark! is not that the fatal stroke -–
See where the bleeding victim lies:
The bonds of social feeling broke,
Dismay’d the frantic spirit flies.
Creation starts, and shrinking Nature views,
Appall'd, the blow which Heav'n's first rights subdues.

Behold the weight of woes combined
A Woman has the pow'r to scorn;
The infant race to shame consign'd,
A name disgrac'd, a fortune torn, -
She meets resolv’d, and combating despair,
Supports alone the ills a coward durst not share.

On Languor, Luxury and Pride,
The subtle fiend employs his spell;
Where selfish, sordid passions bide;
Where weak impatient spirits dwell;
Where thought oppressive from itself would fly,
And seek relief from time in dark eternity.

Far from the scenes of guilty death
My wearied spirit seeks to rest,-
Why sudden stops my struggling breath?
Why throbs so strong my aching breast?
Hark! sounds of horror sweep the troubled glade,
Far on a whirlwind borne, the fatal Month is fled.

I watch'd his flight, and saw him bear
To Saturn's orb the sullen band;
There Winter chills the ling'ring year,
And gloom eternal shades the land:
On a lone rock, far in a stormy main, -
In cheerless prison pent, I heard the ghosts complain.

Some pow'r unseen denies my verse
The hallow'd veil of fate to rend:
Now sudden blasts the sounds disperse,
And Fancy's inspirations end:
While rushing winds in wild discordance jar,
And Winter calls the storms around his icy car.

Also known as "November, 1784". Hunter is best known for being the lyricist for a number of Joseph Haydn's English songs.

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